A380! Finally, I got to fly with the big Airbus A380 by Lufthansa. On a short 10:55 hour flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles I was travelling in the
cheapest most affordable category, in Economy. Lufthansa offers 4 categories to travel in their Airbus A380’s on long-haul flights: Economy Class, Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class. The seating in Economy is 3-4-3, in Premium Economy 2-4-2, in Business 2-2-2 and 1-1 in First Class, this means the number of seats next to each other. So far, I have flown with Lufthansa multiple dozen times in Europe only, from short 35 min to 3-hour flights. Flying with the 7th best Airline in the World on Long-Haul was something I was looking for for a long time, now the timing was perfect for a flight to sunny Los Angeles in December. Before your Flight, you only have to keep the baggage allowance in mind, which is 1 checked-in baggage up to 23kg per Person, with a maximum combined size of 158 cm (length, width, height combined). If you don’t eat everything, or have food intolerances, you can pre-order a special meal up to 24 hours prior to departure on their website here for no further charges, on any flight longer than 185 minutes by the way. As a Vegetarian, I pre-ordered a Vegetarian meal (Lacto-Ovo).
Arriving at Frankfurt Airport was easy, as I already went through the security control at my homebound Airport, which saved me quite some time. Read more about how much time you will need before boarding your Flight to the US from Europe. Right before my Flight, LH456 was still perfectly on time, even though it just slowly started to snow a bit, I checked out the Lufthansa Business Lounge by the Z Gates. As a Frequent Traveler with Lufthansa, I got awarded the silver status which includes free lounge access (and additionally a second piece of checked luggage!) The Lounge was quite crowded for 10 am but I soon found out why; many flights have been delayed or even cancelled due to the snow. In the end, I did spend 2 hours in the Lounge hydrating with complimentary juices, water and coffee, and later 1-hour queueing to board the plane. The A380 fits more than 400 people if the flight is fully booked, and all those people were standing or sitting in front the Gate to finally board, after a 2-hour delay. You can only imagine the happiness of everyone when the lines finally moved.
The 3-4-3 Layout of Lufthansa’s Economy Class gives now only 10 persons per row a seat, this also means there are two alleys. For my 65K Window Seat, I had to take the second alley to reach my seat in the 5th row from the front, on the ground level of the Airbus A380. From European flights, you are used to an interior in grey and grey and grey by Lufthansa, but the Longhaul flight design was surprisingly different, in blue and orange, and grey! Approaching my seat I already found a blanket and headphones including fresh earpads (or how they are called), each still in its plastic bag. But, nothing else. From my Flights with Qatar Airways to and from Australia I was used to finding a small amenity kit on my seat, whilst on Lufthansa, you got nothing, what a disappointment. At least I got my window seat, that’s all that counted.
Once “boarding is finished” was shouted through the Plane, I was mentally getting ready to start the long flight. But no, due to the snow and a mandatory de-icing process we eventually spent another 2 hours on the plane with no air conditioning, just staring and waiting to finally depart. Everyone got a small glass of water and a pretzel-snack, once, but a 5-hour delay is just not “pleasant” …
So let’s move forward to the more exciting parts of this odyssey. About 1 hour after departure meal service on board started, with a “hot meal” for everyone in Economy Class. Luckily, as I pre-ordered a special meal, I received my tray table a few minutes prior everyone else before the main meal service. My small Vegetarian plate included a cold bread roll, a vegetable spread, fat-reduced butter, Herb Dressing and a small Salad, Fruit Salad, a small 0,2l bottle of still water and a hot main dish, Polenta with Veggies. The Polenta was actually quite good, for an aeroplane food, the salad small but sufficient and the fruit salad, well, I would have definitely traded it against the cake everyone else on the plane received as their dessert option. For like ever, I’ve always been an enthusiast of pre-ordering a meat-free meal, to make sure I get something instead of an “oh, sorry, we’re out of options!”. Therefore, pre-ordering a meal can be necessary due to dietary restrictions, but damn, why do the Vegetarians always receive a different, more tasteless, bread and fat-reduced butter and fruit salads instead of cakes? Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean I’m super healthy and I’m counting calories, I just don’t want to eat meat! At least I got a small bottle of water as a little bonus, as right after the drink service for everyone started, already the second one. Whilst hoping it’ll help me falling asleep, I ordered a beer which I received in a cooled 0,3l can. I don’t think it helped me fall asleep, probably it was more the merit of the meagre Movie selection, which made me fall asleep. Even though the Lufthansa Long Haul Economy Class Seats have adjustable headrests, I was happy I took my own sleeping pillow on board.
Even though I had problems sleeping, I slept like 1,5 h in total, the flight was actually quite “okay”. I felt cramped, could barely move, always had to ask others to get up to get something more to drink, the music and video selection wasn’t my thing, but still, you can survive it. Luckily I got myself an upgrade and flew another class on my return flight.